25 answers

Birth Control Pills - Does It Mess up Your Hormones?

My husband and I have recently talked about me going on birth control pills. I have never taken the pill in my life and I am not sure if I want to. I thought about it before not as a contraceptive but because my period was so heavy and long that I heard going on the pill will make my period lighter and shorter (I know the pill Seasonique allows you to have 4 periods only the entire year!) I am hesistant because I read that the pill messes up your hormones and it's bad for your body.

I also looked into the patch and it was so confusing about how it should be used that I am not interested at all.

We have an adorable 10 month old baby boy. We are still toying with the idea of having another baby but not sure yet. I also read that even the pill is not 100% effective in preventing pregnancies so I am at a loss as to what to do. I just feel like it's so much easier for my husband to use the condom since it doesn't require him putting anything into his body to mess up his hormones or anything like that. I think he feels like it's weird for husband and wife to use a condom and he also doesn't like the feel of it....but he also doesn't want me to take anything that would be bad for me either but he is on a mission to find another way other than him using a condom.....

Any advice from fellow mamas would be appreciated.

Thanks !

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I like to thank all the ladies out there who have given me some very sound and good advice about birth control pills. I am so glad I haven't started using them yet. I know they work for some and don't work some but I am just very weary about putting something in my body that seems to go against what nature intended. I will try to talk to my husband about using other forms of contraceptives but I still wish he would be more willing to use the condom (he doesn't like the way it feels and he thinks it disrupts our intimate moment.) I have considered the pill to lighten and shorten my period but I am 36 and I've tolerated it for so long already so why not just continue to go with it. I don't have cramps or anything, just heavy periods the first 3 or 4 days and lasts for 8 days. So thanks again everyone and I will definitely do more research on this but my mind is pretty set on not using the pill.

Featured Answers

Hi M.----Yes, anything that alters the body's normal cycles could be a problem. Some women have fewer side effects than others, but you are altering hormones by consuming birth control pills.

Birth control methods that don't require consuming anything would be the better option. Maybe not a more convenient option, but a healthier option. Those would be a diaphragm or condom.

I, too, would 'google' side-effects of birth control pills. There are substantial risks.

Good luck. D.

3 moms found this helpful

I thought using a condom was kind of wierd too...I told my husband it seemed like such a high school/college guy thing...but...after being on the pill...and the shot...for just a little while...and feeling so incredibly out of whack physically and emotionally....that's what we do. Good luck finding something that works for you guys!

1 mom found this helpful

I will say that personally, I know QUITE a few women who have problems with BCP's. At the very least they go through 2-3 kinds before they find one that works. That being said, I cannot take any. They make me have zero sex drive and just feel blah. I have tried numerous kinds. We have had to make use of condoms b/c my doc seems to think that anything with hormones is going to affect me negatively. Once we are positive we are done having children, he will get a vasectomy. If you want to try BCP's go ahead, but go into it with the mentality that if it doesn't work for you, you will find another way.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Hi M.----Yes, anything that alters the body's normal cycles could be a problem. Some women have fewer side effects than others, but you are altering hormones by consuming birth control pills.

Birth control methods that don't require consuming anything would be the better option. Maybe not a more convenient option, but a healthier option. Those would be a diaphragm or condom.

I, too, would 'google' side-effects of birth control pills. There are substantial risks.

Good luck. D.

3 moms found this helpful

Please don't even THINK about Seasonique! The long-term effects (we're talking about health effects 20 years down the road here) have never been tested and won't be known for at least another generation. By then, it will be too late to undo the damage. Keep in mind that the monthly period is an evolutionary development that has been going on for millions of years...and then ask yourself whether tampering with and suppressing nature's biological rhythm for the sake of convenience can bring any good over the long term.

BCPs really can mess up your hormones...the "on schedule" periods women have while on them are completely artificial and not due to natural ovulation. Many young women go on the pill to relieve symptoms of endometriosis, fibroids, heavy bleeding, etc., but the underlying imbalance goes on unchecked while the pill "masks" the symptoms. Once a woman goes off the pill, surprise! The underlying imbalance is still there and needs to be treated with a natural form of medicine to get resolved permanently.

As a healthcare provider in a CAM field, I have seen this happen AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN. It worries me, because there is also concern in our field about cancer risks with long-term use of BCPs. Suzanne Somers' recent books contain interviews with leading MDs who also weigh in on this issue.

In our contemporary world, we want everything for the sake of convenience. Diaphragms and condoms get passed by for this reason, yet they are much safer in the sense that they don't tamper with the endocrine system. (One of the moms mentioned a risk of urinary tract infections with diaphragms, but this affects only a small percentage of users.) I would suggest sticking with these options if at all possible. Some women find that incorporating them into foreplay is a good solution to the "convenience" issue. Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful

Ever heard of NFP? Natural family planning is a great way to go. Hormonal pills will mess you up, and for some people it takes a very long time to recover (others are fine after discontinuing). It doesn't prevent pregnancy, just reduces the lining in the uterus so the fertilized egg can't implant.
Something that many people don't think about is the possibility that it it possible to be allergic to your own hormones. If you have severe issues with your cycles (emotionally, physically) or with synthetic hormone (like the pill) or when pregnant, you might have an allergy. There are methods of controlling and/or eliminating the allergy so you can go on to live a normal life.
As others have mentioned, you could look into other nonhormonal methods of birth control such as the diaphram, the cervical cap, various spermicides, etc. And of course, as I mentioned, NFP. NFP involves getting to know your cycles and your body very well. You can learn about cervical changes: mucus is different at various points in your cycle, position, texture and openness vary at these points as well. You can go by your temperature (must be done before getting out of bed in th morning and if you're like me and drink a lot at night you should do this vaginally to prevent non-body fluctuations), which is called the BBT or BMT. There are applications for smart phones that incorporate all of the NFP methods and there are websites like fertilityfriend.com which provide tracking of your signs and symptoms for a small fee (I'm sure there are free ones too, you just have to look for them).
Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

yep, they can mess them up. but the good news is alot of women after going off them for a couple months can get back to their old selves. i took them to regulate my eriod (i used to be a heavy bleeder as well) and they also made my cramps disappear... (which they used to be so bad i'd have to stay in the first day of my period).
I liked the Nuvaring. You put it inside you for 30-35 days, take it out, and if you want a period, you can wait 7 days for the next one, or put the new one in immediately. I did that to have like 5 periods a year. The patch is like that, except you have to change it every week and falls off easily. I used that when I was in the military (that's when I started taking b.c.).
Too bad nothing's 100%, right? It would be so nice not worry about it...maybe one day :)

2 moms found this helpful

Can BCP's and other forms of hormone regulators mess up your system? YES! Especially if you already have issues with hormone levels (I.e. heavy periods, thyroid issues, adrenal issues, "unexplained infertility", etc.) Those are all signs that something in your body is not balanced. I was told for years that my hormone levels were "normal", yet I had "unexplained infertility". I always felt run down and had heavy painful periods. So my doc at the time suggested I go on the pill to regulate everything and reduce my monthly bleeding and cramps. I tried Yasmin/Yaz. It did help reduce my bleeding and cramps. But it gave me all kinds of crazy side effects. It sent my thyroid and adrenals into overload. After 3 months of taking it, I could barely crawl out of bed. It basically gave me symptoms of severe depression and anxiety, yet I knew I wasn't depressed. I knew there was something chemically off and I needed to heal my body. It took about 2 years after I stopped taking it for my body to get back to normal using homeopathic remedies under a trained Naturopath. I call those 2 years the Dark Years of my life because the side effects were so bad.

So if I were you, I would google "Negative side effects of (name of BCP)" and see what comes up. I wish I would have done so before I started taking it. I found a site where over 300 women reported similar symptoms as mine while taking Yaz. I am sorry I do not remember the name of the site.

It's now been 4 years since I got off the pill. I have been battling keeping my thyroid and adrenal levels normal ever since. I am not saying for sure that being on the pill caused all of it, but it definitely was the tip of the iceberg that sent me over the top initially.

FYI: At the 2 year mark of getting off the pill and naturally healing my body, I got preggo with my daughter the good old fashioned way. She is our surprise bio baby (my oldest is adopted).

So do your research on this, and then go with what your gut instincts are telling you. For some, BCPs work great, for others like me they are a nightmare.

Also it isn't weird for a married couple to use condoms. We did for several years until I got my hysterectomy since I couldn't tolerate any of the hormone regulators and hubby didn't want to get a vasectomy.

2 moms found this helpful

M.,
You are wise to be concerned. Please research them carefully before you try them. If you are not in favor of abortions, then you definitely don't want them. One of the ways it works is to not allow the ferilized egg to implant in your uterus. I was shocked when I learned that. The newer low-dose pills are the worst for this. And, yes, they do mess up your body. Study it before you decide. Are you breastfeeding? Have you started your cycles back already? I couldn't get pregnant while nursing, but I know that this is not true for everyone (obviously). I also agree that it is weird to use a condom in a marriage. I hate them. We finally threw all BC out the window. It was the best thing we've ever done. I can't even describe what it did for our marriage. Sort of like describing what it feels like to have a baby: you just have to do it to understand. Oh, and in the 8 years since we haven't used any form of BC, we've only had 2 children. We'd love more, but there you go.

2 moms found this helpful

I used the patch and it totally messed with my hormones and my body. Because you go a whole week without anything, and then suddenly put a new patch on that puts a bunch of stuff in your body together, it would give me horrible headaches and make me throw up every single month. I would not be able to do anything that first day of the new patch every month. It was horrible. I also went up two whole bra sizes, from a B to a D (with no weight gain or anything), and went back down only one when I stopped the patch. Oh, and I only took it for 6 months.

The risk of blood clots, etc. also isn't good (I think this is a problem with all birth control like this). These things do have all kinds of side effects, although not everyone has the same issues.

2 moms found this helpful

I swear the pill messes me up and a few of my friens. Drs claim that they dont. The patch is even worse! Try acupuncture for heavy periods. And what abouta diaphragm?

2 moms found this helpful

my husband and I use condoms. The birth control pill does mess with your hormones. It messes up your hormones to convince your body that you're constantly in an early pregnancy so you dont ovulate. It's not the worst thing it the world, but it is also not the best. It also can cause fertilized eggs to not implant, which I hate. I am Catholic, and while I'm not against using forms of birth control, I hate the idea that I might have done anything to actually get rid of one of my babies when I was on the pill.

2 moms found this helpful

Well, what they plainly do is change your hormone levels. This is not an advertised point, but depression is a common side effect of BCPs. I learned this the very hard way and nothing is worth that to me ever again. Any hormonal bc method has that risk. I was severly depressed on the minipill.

After one bout on pills, my skin condition changed forever. Zits. At 30. I wish I had never touched the stuff.

1 mom found this helpful

I was on the pill for about 5 years and had no problems. It depends on the person and the brand of pill. Now that I am over 35 I would not go on it again without a medical reason since the risk of side effects is higher. It is also higher risk if you smoke.

Years ago in college I used to give presentations on birth control (the health center required it before prescribing the pill to anyone). The pill, when used correctly, is more effective than than condoms when also used correctly. Condoms and spermicide used together are just about as effective as the pill (over 95%). There are other options as well. Diaphram and spermicide is also effective. The sponge (which has it's own spermicide) is also a non hormone, none prescription option (you can just get a box at the drug store and try it). I haven't tried the IUD myself but it is effective and some are made without hormones.

1 mom found this helpful

The pill can actually help regulate your hormones. I was on the pill from the age of 14 until last year (I am 33), going off only to have my babies. Each time I stopped taking it to get pregnant I was always with child in the first month, and that was true for my mother as well. For some woman it can take up to 6 months for regular ovulation to start back up (you do not ovulate on the pill). When I got off of it for good it took a few months for my hormones to regulate themselves again, but other than that I never had any problems on the pill, or unplanned pregnancies. As long as you take it at about the same time each day (I did it when I brushed my teeth at night), it is 99% effective. I agree with your husband, having to use condoms all the time can be a pain, and you have to actully plan ahead to be sure you have supplies. With the pill you are always protected and ready to go :)

1 mom found this helpful

the pills helped my hormones. I wasn't as moody my cramps went down, I didn't sleep as much on my cylce. I don't know about the shorter and lighter period I have always had short light periods. I was put on the pill after I had my tubes tied for cramps. as far as the patch I hated it. It didn't help my cramps but if you are relying on the pill to prevent pregnancy and forget to take pills go with the patch. You can get pregnant on any birthcontrol the pill is not exception. neither is the condom they can break :) you have probably a greater risk of the condom breaking than pregnancy on the pill. this is not scientific just my opinion.

1 mom found this helpful

So far no one has written telling you that the BC pill worked well for them. Just because you have posts here saying they didn't like it doesn't mean that the pill is bad, M.. Millions of women use it with much success (me included).

No birth control method is 100% effective (even tubes sometimes grow back, though that's REALLY rare.) Condoms have more of a failure rate than the pill. So don't look at the pill in the view that you are at a loss of what to do. The pill is just one more way of preventing pregnancy.

"Messing up your hormones" isn't quite the same as "messing WITH your hormones". Talk to your doctor about the difference in those two statements, and find out from him or her what it really means to you. You and your husband can come to a meeting of the minds regarding pill vs condom after you both start understanding the different birth control methods better. If it helps him to understand married people and condoms, explain to him that a condom is a barrier method just like a cervical cap or a diaphragm. The difference is that he wears the condom instead of you inserting the other two types of barrier methods.

Good luck,
D.

1 mom found this helpful

Yes, the pill messes with your hormones. I took it for about two years after we got married. It took three years to get pregnant after stopping the pill, and we only got pregnant after I took Clomid to restart my system. I haven't taken the pill since and we got pregnant with our second child as soon as we started trying. My husband and I use a condom. It's not weird and it really is better for your bodies. If you don't want more kids go for the pill or something more permanent, but I'd wait until you're sure.

1 mom found this helpful

BC pills (or any hormonal BC) split into 5 groups...

1) the group of people who feel better on them
2) the group of people who they don't effect at all - except as BC
3) the group of people who feel worse on them

then the other 2 can be attached to any of the above.

a) People for whom the hormones are damaging to their health
b) People for whom the hormones are aiding their health

Anyone can be a 1a or 1b, 2a or 2b, 3a or 3b. It's a "try it and see" sort of thing.

And no... nothing sans abstinence or a hysterectomy/ovoectomy is 100% effective. Women can get their tube tied, cauterized, and STILL end up pregnant. All methods of BC just lower the chances of getting pregnant. Some more than others. The lowest rate of pregnancy is actually from the copper IUD. But even then, it's possible. Just very very rare. Similar to getting preggers after getting your tubes tied. It happens. But not as often with either of those as with any other form of BC.

Personally, I got pregnant using BC pills, condoms, AND spermacide all together. ((I now use the copper IUD))

You have several choices for non-hormonal BC:

- Condoms + Spermacide
- Diaphragm + Spermacide
- Cervical Cap + Spermacide
- Copper IUD (paraguard)
- Natural Family Planning ((only do this one if you're okay with having another child... it has the HIGHEST failure rate of any kind of BC, including hormonal BC))

1 mom found this helpful

If by "mess up your hormones" you mean messing with emotions, it can. For me, certian pills make me very emotional, but others don't bother me at all. I've successfully used birth control for all of our marriage except when we were trying to get pregnant. (we've been married 8+ years and have 2 kids who are 3 1/2 years apart) I've also successfully used the mini pill while breast feeding without any problem. For us, it is the best method of BC. If I were you I would try it for a month or two and see how you feel, you can always go off it or ask your Dr for a different pill to try, which is what I did with one pill that didn't agree with me. As far as effectiveness, the numbers are really slim of women getting pregnant on it as long as they were dilegent about taking the pill daily. When you miss taking it is when you have to worry.
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Yes, it messes up your hormones and isn't good for you at all. I was on it for 3.5 years and I've been off of them for about 4 years now (just had a baby=). I'm still recovering from it. It also causes candida. Good luck to you!

1 mom found this helpful

I was on the birth control pill for 21 years without any adverse health effects. When my husband and I decided to get pregnant, I stopped taking them. I was pregnant in 4 months. I never had any problems whatsoever while on the pill. My periods were much lighter than they had been before going on the pill and they were regular for a change. I didn't gain weight, like some people say they do. I never had cramps. I rarely experienced any kind of PMS-type symptoms, either. Just wanted to throw my two cents in there. Good luck with your decision, M..

1 mom found this helpful

I will say that personally, I know QUITE a few women who have problems with BCP's. At the very least they go through 2-3 kinds before they find one that works. That being said, I cannot take any. They make me have zero sex drive and just feel blah. I have tried numerous kinds. We have had to make use of condoms b/c my doc seems to think that anything with hormones is going to affect me negatively. Once we are positive we are done having children, he will get a vasectomy. If you want to try BCP's go ahead, but go into it with the mentality that if it doesn't work for you, you will find another way.

1 mom found this helpful

I cannot take birth control of any kind because it makes me sick and very anxious/depressed. My Dr. lowered the dosage so much he told me I would still need to use condoms because it wasn't as effective. So, we just go without it now. There are other hormone free forms that you can do, like a diaphragm or cervical cap and such, but they can cause urinary tract infections and aren't 100% effective either.

1 mom found this helpful

I thought using a condom was kind of wierd too...I told my husband it seemed like such a high school/college guy thing...but...after being on the pill...and the shot...for just a little while...and feeling so incredibly out of whack physically and emotionally....that's what we do. Good luck finding something that works for you guys!

1 mom found this helpful

I know married couples who use the condom. It isn't as "weird" as one might think. I'll message you privately about hormone use. I congratulate you for looking for taking a responsible perspective on something that so many do without really considering long-term effects.

1 mom found this helpful

Birth control did not agree with me at all. I don't know, if this is a universal effect, but it's my experience. It made me have bad headaches (which I never had before), made my heart race (also never had that before), and I had terrible nightmares. It just made me feel not myself at all, I always felt run down. I wasn't on them for a full year, because I couldn't take it anymore. The symptoms went away quickly, but i had a period FOREVER.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi,

I am wildly opposed to hormonal birth control. I'm convinced I'm still recovering from the 6 months I did 15 years ago. My european ob/gyn convinced me to use the non-hormonal IUD. I have to say, it is the best move I've ever made. I'm on my 3rd one, I've had 2 children and I have no freakish side effects. It's just a simple copper coil wrapped around a t-shaped piece of surgical plastic. Makes it just uncomfortable enough in there for anyone to want to live there. Good luck. :)

1 mom found this helpful

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